Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry has bemoaned the inability of the game's leading players to challenge Ronnie O'Sullivan's dominance.
Hendry, the most successful player ever to have picked up a cue, believes this year's World Championship is being handed to O'Sullivan – who says that this will be his last major tournament – far too easily.
"It's up to the other players to try and get to his level," Hendry said. "As Ronnie has said himself, there's been a different winner of every ranking tournament and no one has taken up the mantle to be the governor.
"Mark Selby has had a good season. He's won more than one tournament, but he and the other players are not playing anywhere near the level Ronnie is playing here.
"Look at (John) Higgins – although you don't want to say he's a spent force, he's not the player he was."
O'Sullivan has hardly had to apply himself in winning three matches to reach the semi-finals, and Hendry is glad to see him back in the game after his self-imposed year off.
"Any tournament without the best player is devalued in my eyes whether they (the other players) like it or not. When he was out, it was like having Tiger Woods out."
O'Sullivan did not have it all his own way yesterday, though, as Judd Trump fought back from 4-1 down to level at 4-4 after the first session of their best of 33 frame semi-final.
O'Sullivan fired in breaks of 65, 75 and 89 on his way to the three-frame cushion and looked then a strong favourite to secure an overnight lead. But 23-year-old Trump gutsily fought back. The resume their battle at 10.0 this morning.
Meanwhile, in last night's other semi-final Ricky Walden leads Barry Hawkins 6-2. (© Independent News Service)
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